After owning Grass Valley’s Brighton Street Grocery store for more than 20 years, Bob and Ann Applegate have decided to sell the business.
“Its just been a great little store,” Bob Applegate told The Union. “But we sold basically because I’m 79 years old, and you know it’s time to retire and go fishing. (Ann’s) 74, and we’re over the hump, you might say.”
First opening in 1936, the store had five previous owners before the Applegates bought the store in March 1992. In the next week, Mary Gill and her husband, David, will take over as the store’s owners.
Gill, originally from Santa Cruz, moved to Alta Sierra six years ago. As the owner, she looks forward to being part of the local community.
“Santa Cruz was getting too big, too Roseville,” Gill said. “The environment isn’t as conducive to raising kids as I had grown up with, so we wanted some place that was just like that, and Grass Valley is just that. It’s perfect for us.”
A former business owner, Gill ran a seafood restaurant in Washington state, and has more than 20 years of retail experience. Gill says as the new owner, she plans to keep the store’s tradition alive, and has been working in the store twice a week for the past month to get to know the customers.
“It’s business as usual at Brighton. We’re not really going to change the vibe,” Gill said.
“People are getting used to me and I’m getting used to them, because it’s a very tightly knit community around here. So it’s worked out pretty well. I’ve been reasonably well-received.”
Gill, though, does plan on adding a few items to the store’s product line, including more hot food items, lottery tickets, and moderately priced cigars that customers can find on cigarfinder.com. An ATM machine will also be added to the store.
“Also the Disc Golf has a really strong emphasis in the store right now, and we’re going try and make that even more of a presence in the store,” Gill said. “They’ve got a really great product line, but we’re just going to be doing a lot more promotions with the advertising.”
For the time being, the store’s staff will stay the same, and the Applegates’ daughter, Sheila Torry, who has managed the store for more than 20 years, will continue to work at the store with Gill.
“It’s going to be difficult to move on because (my) parents owned it,” Torry said. “But I’m glad they’re getting to move on with their lives.”
Ann Applegate doesn’t plan on officially retiring, and hopes to find a job having to do with wildlife. She said she will miss the community most.
“You know you get to really know the people, and you talk to them and you gossip with them. You get very fond of a lot of the people,” Ann Applegate said.
Bob Applegate says he looks forward to retiring, and spending more time making old-fashioned black-powder guns.
“I’ve seen a lot of these kids grow up in the neighborhood and they keep popping back in,” Bob Applegate said. “It’s been a fun occupation, and particularly in a neighborhood where you’re meeting all kinds of people.”
To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.